MORC – Day 1:
Took the shuttle from my hotel to the cruise port, sharing with a bunch of people who were going on other cruises.
When we pulled in to pier 29, it was crystal clear which cruise THAT was. :D
People with long, black hair, piercings, tattoos and band t-shirts everywhere…there was no doubt about it. The old folks turned to me going: “There’s your cruise! Looks like fun! We should go on that one!”
The check-in was a dream, I breezed right through. I wish it was like that at the airport! And I was once again reminded that people in the US love my hair…! :D
The staff opened the doors to my deck, said we were welcome to go to our cabins now. Still so breezy I could barely believe it. Last year we had to wait for hours for our cabins to be ready. “My” attendant knocked on the door and was pissed that I was already in the cabin but I told him they actually let us in. He said that the door was open, which means that they are about to clean it. Okay, yell at your colleague who let us in, not me, angry little man.
I took a walk around the ship, met people I knew, just enjoyed the vibe. :) These are my people, this is my music, this is my trip. Soon we will be far away from the real world rockin’ out to our favorite music for days and I love it!
The first band was supposed to be the “secret sail-off band”. I already knew who it was but I wanted some good footage so I stayed – and they were horribly late. Nobody informed us about what was going on, and time just dragged on as if we were waiting for freaking Axl Rose or something. Unfortunately, it killed the vibe. You sail off, the ship starts moving, people waving, the loud horn honks as we’re leaving the port – and you’re in the right mood for some music action! But…there is none.
It got dark before anything happened and by then most people were already at the bar or doing something else. The secret band was a reunited BulletBoys, which to me wasn’t of much interest. I was tired, my party-vibe was gone so I just thought…fuck it. I’m going back to my cabin.
I couldn’t wait to just chill. I had barely taken two steps inside my cabin when the angry little attendant knocked on the door. He didn’t say what he wanted and just almost pushed his way in, going “can I come in?“.
It was so creepy. I got scared to be honest. He had already cleaned the room so what was he doing in here now? It was dark outside and there had been no people in the corridor, so it felt quite uncomfortable, to say the least.
“I’ll make your bed comfortable!” he said and pulled out the tucked in corners. I was still standing there wondering WTF?
He finally left with a fake smile and handed me his business card.
I’m one of those weird people who considers a hotel room or a cabin my home away from home, and as such, I value ONE thing, and one thing only – and that’s my privacy.
I hate people coming in when I have my private belongings in the room, I hate people knocking on the door when I want to sleep or when I just want to be left alone. So this morning I put the “DO NOT DISTURB“-sign on the door and that’s staying there for the rest of the cruise. The annoying little man better not try to talk to me for the rest of this journey, and he better stay out of my cabin too unless I need toilet paper or whatever. Geez. They want their tips, but that was a very blunt way to go about it.
Anyway, today will be a busy day. :) Joel Hoekstra, Rick Allen, Y&T documentary movie on pool deck and then the band starts playing right after.
British Lion w Steve Harris. “Photo experience” with Steve Harris. The Atomic Punks. Doro. And I have to see Paradise Kitty of course lol!
My PT would have been proud of me by the way, I took the stairs from the 4th floor up to 11th yesterday and decided I won’t take the elevator on this cruise unless I’m in a hurry. So I did the same this morning when I went for breakfast. Stairs.
Been eating healthy too. Salad, veggies and a chickpea Indian stew yesterday, scrambled eggs and oatmeal for breakfast… I’m doing okay so far! :D
We’re in the middle of nowhere, just ocean everywhere I look. This is relaxation alright! <3
The Monsters of Rock Cruise, MORC, last year was a memory for life.
I’ve always loved the sea, so being out there, surrounded by the Carribean sea with a light breeze blowing through my hair was wonderful.
There was music and good times everywhere from morning to evening, but at night, it was all peaceful and quiet.
I had a balcony cabin and I felt incredibly privileged when I fell asleep watching the bright moon light up the water surface like a mirror, and then woke up early in the morning to almost complete silence, only the sound of waves splashing against the ship, to watch the sun rise. It was spectacular.
Apart from that, I’m at home on a boat full of rockers. That’s my “tribe”, that’s where I belong. :)
I was there for Madam X, first and foremost, I love their passion and energy, and they’re just simply great people and great musicians.
They rocked that ship.
Then of course there was another good friend, Gus G and “his boys”, all of them great guys that I’ve gotten to know through the years. He kicked ass as well.
I didn’t think I would get to do it all again, until the announcement for 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise was made recently. The lineup made me lose my breath, pretty much. It’s like tailor made for me. :)
Madam X again – don’t miss it! They have the most dedicated fan, there were people from all over the planet who came to see them on the cruise. And they didn’t disappoint anyone, those shows were loud and freaking awesome!
Lita Ford – my number one role model, inspiration, idol. She had a lot to do with the person I am today, because she was the only female rocker back in those days who was successful but embraced her femininity. All other female rockers all looked like dudes and I couldn’t quite relate. Lita was different and I loved her for it. I still think she kicks ass – and I’m still stoked that she included a photo from our interview – that was in this blog – in her biography. :)
The Quireboys – the BEST live-band I can think of. I’d say that the only competition they’ve got would be Whitesnake/David Coverdale. Other than that, they blow me away, every single time. There’s something genuine about this band, a love for what they do and a spark that never dies. Spike is the ultimate frontman, he’ll probably die on stage. I was so impressed when he managed to engage a whole audience all alone, a capella at Sweden rock – sitting on a chair with a broken leg! Well, he moved everything else that he was able to move, and did it with the biggest grin ever. That band is a GUARANTEE for a good time and I’m so excited that they’ll be on the cruise!
Pretty Maids – another kickass liveband that never disappoints their audience. After almost four decades of kicking ass, they KNOW their business better than anybody. And I happen to know that it’s 100% genuine, it’s a love for rock’n’roll that shines through. As if that wasn’t enough, my “little brother” Chris Laney joined the band last year and he’s handling the keyboards, guitar and vocals. I’ve known that guy since he was a teenager and he’s got music running through his veins, incredibly talented musician and a wonderful guy, so that’s a band I won’t miss on the cruise, for sure!
Thunder – wow and wow. The finest of the finest of British hard rock. Amazing musicians, great songs, great live performances… They opened for Whitesnake a few years ago, and gave the snakes a good run for the money. The hair is shorter and “greyer” nowadays but you forget about all that once they start doing their thing. I love this band!
Doro – she’s adorable, a powerhouse metal queen with a love for rock’n’roll that you just can’t miss. I admire her in so many ways. She’s really dedicated her whole life for music and she lives it, one hundred per cent. Won’t be missing her this time either.
L A Guns is one of those bands I remember from wayyyy back in the day. I met them for an interview in London once when they were opening for Skid Row – sat with Phil Lewis and Kelly Nickels and both left such a bad, arrogant impression that I couldn’t stand them for years. However, I can’t deny that they’ve done some pretty great songs, so I’ll bury the hatchet and go check them out. :)
Loudness kicked some good ass at Sweden Rock, that will be cool to see again. And, yet another friend of mine is handling booking and management for this band so I hope to see many familiar faces on this cruise as well. :)
It’s the ultimate escape from everyday life. You get all this fantastic music, all this “let’s kick ass and have a great time“-energy, all day and all night, you let it charge your batteries, fill your heart & soul with love and joy, while the sun is burning your skin on pool deck. :) What could be better than that?
It’s really like being in a dream for a few days, and in case anyone wants to know if it’s worth the money: Hell YES!
I can’t wait to do this again. :) Miami, Haiti and Jamaica, can’t wait to see you! :D
I started writing a little about this weekend’s Rockmässan – the Swedish Metal Convention – but never got around to finishing it. There will be something about that here soon, but for now, just enjoy some of the videos I filmed there…
The world’s largest IRON MAIDEN collection
DORO (administrator interview)
DORO (fans asking questions)
MIKE TRAMP – Will White Lion ever reunite? (question by fan)
MIKE TRAMP UNPLUGGED – When The Children Cry
FATAL SMILE – Afterparty/Halloween party at Club Distortion
When you’re on vacation you suddenly have a LOT of time on your hands. I ended up spending hours on YouTube last night watching videos by some of the female bands/artists that inspired me as I was growing up.
I’ve always collected albums by female rockers, whether it was all-girl bands or female fronted male bands or even the very few women who got a gig playing in a male band (not just singing).
The very first heroine was of course Lita Ford. When I was just a kid with very little knowledge of the music world, I remember stopping in the record store being totally in awe of the cool girls on the cover of this Runaways album:
Lita was of course the one who caught the eye of a curious 8-year old cause she wore that silver-thing on her arm. Then when she released her first solo-album in 1983, I really started collecting Lita-stuff. She was definitely the number one role-model.
[Cheesy early Lita-video, title track of her debut solo-album “Out For Blood“]
Joan Jett never appealed to me as much. It was only last year at Sweden Rock Festival when I attended her press-conference and saw her live, that I truly got why she’s stayed on the top in this business all these years. She is genuine and breathes rock’n’roll! She ruled the crowd, they loved her!
In the early 80’s, there were very few females playing metal. One of my favorite bands was Rock Goddess. The youngest member, drummer Julie Turner, was so young at the time that they even had trouble getting her into some of their own gigs!
They came to Sweden opening for Def Leppard in 1984 I think, but I wasn’t allowed to go. My parents were still not happy about the fact that their daughter was into heavy metal, it was something they had heard “bad things” about. Needless to say, they had to change their minds along the way… ;-P
[Rock Goddess with the asskicking Jodie Turner on vocals and guitar!]
I picked up whatever I could – Girlschool, She, Lita, Joan, Headpins, and then of course Lee Aaron. The Metal Queen. When I first heard her, it was on the radio (must have been some local station, they didn’t normally play heavy metal on the national Swedish radio back in those days) – I thought it was a guy…! Man, the lady had quite a set of pipes! And she was beautiful too, not to mention a bundle of energy on stage. Well, that’s how I imagined her, because I never saw her live and there was no YouTube so I had to rely on the reviews I read in the metal magazines I could get my hands on in 1984. I was happy to finally see her live at Sweden Rock Festival last year and she blew me away! She is still stunning and hasn’t lost her vocal range one bit!
[Quite cheesy video but these were still the early years of music videos…]
As the years went by, the world of metal started to expand and more women fought their way in. Cause it sure as hell wasn’t easy being a woman in metal in the 70’s or 80’s! There were very few, and the ones who DID manage to secure their place in the business, constantly had to deal with stupid juvenile sexism. It was automatically assumed that heavy metal was a man’s world and as a woman you simply couldn’t play.
At its best, you would hear comments along the lines of “well… pretty good – for a chick“. It was still pretty bad when I joined my first band. When we played, I would constantly hear some drunk asshole (and his equally drunk idiot pals) yell: “Show your tits!”. Well, show your d***k if you can find it, son of a b…. It was a pain in the butt, but you couldn’t let it stop you.
Late 80’s presented the classy ladies of Vixen for instance. Eventhough I wouldn’t call them metal, I loved everything about them. I was young, thought of them as inspirational not only as great musicians but also as fashion-statements for women in rock. :-) I had the pleasure of talking to them a few times during their fairly short, but successful career and loved their personalities.
Other ladies that I listened to during this period was Femme Fatale fronted by a lady with an attitude – Lorraine Lewis. She’s still active, playing the Monsters of Rock Cruise for instance. Would love to see her, cause most of those American bands never made it to Europe for some reason.
Doro had been around since…forever! Starting out with Warlock, I’d say she’s also one of the few true, 200% dedicated and impressive metal queens out there. Doro and Lita won every poll for “best female artist” back in those days. I love Doro, who doesn’t?! She’s a wonderful, humble person with a true love for heavy metal.
Another band that I really liked, but who never made it commercially (they stayed somehow “underground” eventhough MTV aired their videos) was Phantom Blue.
They were the first and only female band to be signed to Mike Varney’s Shapnel Records (only 3 months after forming!). Just as a bit of trivia, guitarists Michelle and Nicole were both students of Paul Gilbert and Bruce Boulliet of Racer X. Great guitarists and to top it all off – the amazing Gigi Hangach on vocals.
They couldn’t compete with the likes of Vixen or Lita in terms of airtime or albums sold, but they made a mark in music history for sure. Michelle married John Norum (ex-Europe) and moved to Sweden where she formed the band Meldrum. I remember being in touch with her back and forth about a gig at my club Hard Break in the mid-, late nineties, but due to a double-booking it fell through. Michelle was anything but happy about it, to make a long story very short… :-( It sucks that things had to go so wrong. She passed away in 2008. Read more about the band here. The actual promo video for this great song used to be on YouTube but I’m sure some idiot had it removed for whatever reason… The only thing left is this incredibly inspiring “look at this photo”-video, but at least you can still HEAR the music.
As far as VOICES…there was only ONE that could blew off the competition. Not that there ever was any competition. This woman was on her throne and nobody ever came even CLOSE to her vocal power! Ann Wilson of Heart. That voice amazes me to this day, she was and is one of a kind.
Then, of course, there was the CHEESE.
Some stand out as worse than anything. I bought records by these “ladies” but they’ve only been played once and then took their place in the collection just as “fill-outs”, never to be played again.
Lisa Dominique, she was in Kerrang! all the time, but the only reason she was, was because she was selling her “sexy image” more than her music – she couldn’t sing if her life depended on it! Take a listen to this (warning for possible injuries on sensitive eardrums….)
Then there was the super-cheesy Betsy Bitch from the band….Bitch. I’m lost for words, this is just about the cheesiest crap I’ve ever seen or heard in most aspects, especially lyric-wise! :)
Granted, she was one of the very first female metal vocalists, starting out in 1980, but that doesn’t help, at all. This song especially is horrible. Check it out:
Another uh..lady, that must be placed in the cheese-department is The Great Kat. It’s not that she didn’t know what she was doing; she was a classically trained violinist, graduated from Juilliard and had been touring playing classical music before she became…that.
Once again, she ends up in the cheese-department simply because…well, you’ll understand when you watch the video below. She could play, has even been listed as one of the top shredders of all time by Guitar One magazine. Maybe she would have passed unnoticed if she hadn’t created this insane persona, where she often claimed she was Beethoven reincarnated. ;)
Jesus, I think I’ll have go and take a break after that. :-)) Hope you’ve enjoyed the rundown!
Honorable mentions that didn’t fit into the article above but that you should take a listen to:
Canadian rocker Joanna Dean, loved her album “Misbehavin”
One HELL of a voice – Chrissy Steele (who was recruited to take over vocal duties after Darby Mills in Headpins. This is from her solo album “Magnet to Steele“)
So Lita Ford is about to release a new album soon, and it was, as usual, on Blabbermouth yesterday.
Another thing that’s “as usual” are all those strange individuals on Blabbermouth who are filling the newspages with the weirdest comments…
The article was 100% about Lita’s music, yet the very first comment on there was: “Gonna do some MILF porn Lita?”
Another brainiac continued with another ever so intelligent comment that included, among other things “she s***ed Chris Holmes nasty alcoholic c**k for a few years in the 80’s“
It’s an interesting phenomenon, because I’m pretty sure that the pimplefaced teenage boys (I hope to god that these stupidass comments were NOT written by any ADULT….) got a heartattack just SEEING a picture of a WOMAN on their macho metal pages. All those sexually frustrated, morons turned into Beavis & Butthead in about two seconds by the mere sight of a woman among their male heroes.
Oh horror – I mean, really?! How DARE she exist in their little narrow macho-metal world?! Only LEMMY is allowed to rule that world of theirs, definitely no chick. They forget that this particular chick has even recorded a song she wrote with said legend….
[Lemmy and Lita = Can’t Catch Me]
But it’s always, always the same shit when a woman enters the world of metal. It’s all that sexist bullshit she has to listen to from a bunch of insecure dweebs who are convinced that they are exerting an imaginary power by acting as if sexuality is something that they are entitled to by nature, whereas women should be grateful if they “GET” some. You know, kind of what they were thinking back in the 50’s.
Especially in this case, when we’re talking about Lita Ford – THAT kind of behavior becomes nothing but BRAINDEAD and embarrassing. Why? Because she is not the kind of chick who gets offended by rough talk. First of all, she’s more vulgar than most of those little teenage nerds. If you think that the usual sexist talk is intimitading to someone like her – think again.
Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, she was interviewed by RIP or Metal Edge, I forget which one it was – and stated that if she hadn’t made it as a musician, she would have pursued a “career” as a callgirl. Because she liked the idea of unbridled, unconditional sex.
That was a pretty “shocking” statement back in those days. She was very “SO FUCKIN’ WHAT??”
Her songs have always been about sex in all forms, I guess her last one, Wicked Wonderland, was no exception. And her stories and pics from her and her ex-husband Jim’s “sex-room” and their endorsement of a site that sells sex-toys and what have you….
The whole thing with the nervous teenage boy who’s trying to be cool in the safety and security of his anonymity, just becomes even more stupid. He chose the wrong chick to try his amateur, clumsy version of classic master suppression techniques on.
That crap is just such old news, and I don’t know how it still manages to survive among some retarded groups out there, in 2012.
It’s always the same. I saw some pretty nasty shit being said about Elize Ryd of Amaranthe for instance.
What is a guy thinking when he writes a comment to a music video, saying “She can sit on my face!”? And then there will be OTHER Beavis and Buttheads out there cheering it along.
I heard all that stuff back when I was singing in a band too. I’m not easily offended either. I mean, I joined my first band when I was a teenager, and trust me – I heard more intimate stories than I bargained for. The guys forgot I was a chick when they acted like boys do – so, yeah, every exaggerated sexual conquest was reviewed in the rehearsal studio.After a lifetime of that, you get jaded, to a degree. But sometimes, in some situations, I still can’t help thinking “when is this shit gonna be OLD NEWS, it’s just getting so… old“.
Every time I got up on stage, there was some dude, whose pals he was trying to impress, that yelled: “Show your tits!!”
In the end, I got so sick of hearing it, that I decided to address it with a sense of humor instead of bitching about it.
So, one evening I put on a whole bunch of t-shirts, tried my best to make it look like it was only one, and then did a bit of a “striptease” – taking off one t-shirt after the other, layer after layer.
I thought they would get the irony of it, but when I got to the last top, there was still some idiot who yelled, with a beer in his hand, “show your tits!”. I gave up. Some just don’t have a sense of humor or the IQ to understand irony and when they are being mocked.
I just hoped and wished that things would be different in 2012. I’ve been a rocker since I was 13 years old. When I started, there were very few female role models, and Lita was my first real source of inspiration – just because she did things her own way.
“Better sexy than ugly” is what she used to say with a laugh. She made being feminine something cool, something fun – not something political or aggressive. It was just the way she was. I admired her for it.
And after all the work she’s done her whole life, there are still caveman-people out there making the same stupid remarks now that they did back in 1983.
It’s not all just negative, that’s not where I’m going with this. Things HAVE changed a lot. We see more and more women at festivals – both in the crowd and on stage.
Last year, at Sweden Rock Festival, people worshipped Joan Jett and they got up early, dispite their hangovers, to see Lee Aaron.
Doro has always had extremely loyal fans who absolutely adore her and Girlschool have most certainly earned their legend-status just as much as their male colleagues.
It’s definitely better than it was in 1983, but I just wish that some of these “developmentally disabled”, to put it nicely, would become a thing of the past, altogether.
Maybe another…20 years from now…? Who knows.